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Pictures: Epic Sun snaps captured by Nasa

As the Sun unleashes its most powerful eruption of 2013, Newsround takes a look at some of the epic pictures of our parent star.
Flares start around areas known as sunspots. These are dark patches on the Sun, only there for short periods of time, caused by magnetic activity. The recent flares were released from a sunspot called AR1748; this picture, taken in 2010 by the New Solar Telescope, is an example of one.
Image of AR NOAA 1084 taken on July 2, 2010 Big Bear Observatory
Nasa's spacecraft has super high-tech cameras that can make movies with really detailed pictures. This snap shows a bright eruption from the Sun on 31 August 2012.
Solar filament
Flares - such as the ones this week - are expected when the Sun reaches it's most active spell every 11 years, known as the solar maximum. This picture was taken just after a big flare on 3 May 2013.
Solar filament and flare on 3 May 2013
Between 12 and 14 May, the Sun let out four intense bursts of radiation, called flares. These X-class flares - the biggest type - are the strongest activity the Sun has seen so far in 2013. This picture from Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows the first of these, on 12 May.
Flare on 12 May
These eruptions can release billions of solar particles and gases into space. This picture from the Stereo spacecraft was taken earlier in the year. The black disc in the middle blocks out the Sun so that the less-bright flares can be seen properly.
CME Nasa
Nasa's clever cameras can even create 3-D pictures, like this one taken on 4 December 2011.
Sun in 3-D
When the particles from an out-burst reach the earth's protective atmosphere they can cause bright colourful lights, called aurorae or Northern and Southern lights. Sometimes they can even stop technology - like satellites and transformers in power supplies - from working properly.
Aurora
Big magnetic loops like these, which look like something out of Star Trek, put on dazzling displays for watching spacecrafts. They are formed by charged particles jumping between sunspots.
Magnetic loops SDO